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In his first TV interview in years, legendary point guard Michael Ray Richardson joins Edge of Sports to talk about his new memoir, Banned, which chronicles how the drug war ended his NBA career. Richardson also opens up about his career and life after the NBA, his family, and his relationships with other great athletes who were his contemporaries.

Studio Production: David Hebden, Cameron Granadino
Post-Production: Taylor Hebden
Audio Post-Production: David Hebden
Opening Sequence: Cameron Granadino
Music by: Eze Jackson & Carlos Guillen


Dave Zirin:  Michael Ray Richardson, his first TV interview in years, only on Edge of Sports. Let’s go!

[Intro music]

Welcome to Edge of Sports only on The Real News Network. I’m Dave Zirin.

This week we have a legend in the house, a basketball player who, in the early 1980s, captured the imagination as to how the guard position could be played, until he was banned from the league after testing positive three times for drugs. Yes, the drug war ended his brilliant career in the NBA, but his pro hoops career was just beginning, and we’re going to talk to him about all of that. He’s the one they call Sugar, Michael Ray Richardson.

Also, in Ask a Sports Scholar, I’m talking to Professor Letisha Brown about her study of the slowly-integrating world of women’s gymnastics. And it’s football season, of course, so I got a question: Have you ever wondered why football is so popular in the United States and so unpopular everywhere else? Well, I got some theories that I’m going to share in Choice Words. But first, Michael Ray Richardson.

Michael Ray Richardson, Sugar, thank you so much for joining us here on the show.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Well, thanks for having me, and it’s a pleasure.

Dave Zirin:  I remember watching you growing up and thinking that you were like a faster version of Magic Johnson. At your best, do you think anyone was better?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Absolutely not. But I have heard that I was a smaller Magic, but I was there before Magic, so I think he was a bigger Sugar.

Dave Zirin:  [Laughs] Magic was the bigger Sugar. I got that.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Yes.

Dave Zirin:  I’ll always remember you beating the defending champions, the Philadelphia 76ers. First round of the ’84 playoffs, you win three in a row over Dr. J and Moses Malone, a team that people thought was going to be the new dynasty. What do you remember about that series?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  I remember that series because during the season, we always matched up well with Philadelphia. For some reason, Albert King gave Julius Irving fits. He was much younger than the doctor. He was more athletic than the doctor at that time. On the other end, Cheeks and Toney, they were too small for myself and Otis Birdsong, so we matched up with them really well.

Dave Zirin:  Wow.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  I think during the whole season that they had beat us three times, we have beaten them three times. But we always loved to play Philly in Philly because it was like playing another home game because it was so close.

Dave Zirin:  Your team had some great players. You mentioned Albert King and Otis Birdsong. I could also go with Buck Williams and Darryl Dawkins. Could that team have contended for a title if y’all were able to keep it together?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  I think so. The series that after we had beat Philly, we had won the first two games in Philly. Then we went home, and we lost the next two games against Philly. What had gave us a lot of motivation was that Julius Irving puts in the newspaper headlines that the New Jersey Nets might as well mail in the stats sheet, because this series is over.

Well, when we had gotten on the bus going down to Philly the next morning we saw the newspaper hanging there on the bus. So all the guys said, let’s go back home and let’s close it out at home, ’cause we had just won two games in Philly.

So in that game five, we went there, we were under no kind of pressure because didn’t nobody expect us to win anyway. So we went in there and we played, we played relaxed, and I remember Otis and myself, we controlled the tempo of the game. Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney had no answer for me and Otis.

Dave Zirin:  Now, one of the players we just mentioned was, of course, Chocolate Thunder, the man from Lovetron, the late Darryl Dawkins. What an incredible personality in the NBA. Can you tell us a little something about Darryl Dawkins? What made him unique?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Darryl was probably one of the most nicest guys that you ever met. Darryl had probably the most talent that I’ve ever seen out of any big man. He was quick, he could handle the basketball, he could shoot. But Darryl didn’t really want to be great, Darryl wanted to be good. During the basketball game, all Darryl wanted to do was just get a couple of dunks. After he got his couple of dunks, he would give you 100% on the floor, but he was unbelievable talent.

Dave Zirin:  Yeah. I do want to talk to you about your forthcoming book, but just one more question. You were a college superstar coming out of Texas and going to Montana. Can you tell us a little bit about how did you end up in Montana, and what was the culture shock like for you?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Well, I was born in Texas, but I moved from Texas when I was five years old to Denver, Colorado. So I was raised up in Colorado. My senior year, I was recruited by the University of Iowa, Colorado State University, and the University of Montana. So I had an offer to go and visit the University of Montana, so we went there. I met the legendary Jud Heathcote. And the reason why I chose Montana was because I was going to be able to play right away. I didn’t have to go there and sit a year or two before I had my opportunities. So when I chose the University of Montana, I went from na all-Black high school to an all-white college.

Dave Zirin:  Wow.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  I mean the whole university. I think there was about 35 Blacks, and most of them played on the football team. But I was the only Black on the basketball team like the first three years.

Dave Zirin:  Wow.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  So the first two months, I stayed in my room, going to my classes and stuff. Then after that third month, I started meeting a couple of guys that played on the football team of the guys. So it was probably the best choice that I ever could have made in my life. And if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the same way.

Dave Zirin:  It’s interesting that you mentioned Jud Heathcote, who, of course, coached Magic in ’79 to the title at Michigan State. Did Coach Heathcote ever share with you that coaching you actually prepared him for coaching Magic?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  We had talked about it. He had said that Magic had the same skill set that I had, but he was a little bit bigger, and I was a better shooter, but we both had the same game.

Dave Zirin:  I would also say you were a better defender, but that’s another conversation [laughs].

Micheal Ray Richardson:  I was a much better defender.

Dave Zirin:  Yeah, not even close.

Now, your forthcoming book, which I couldn’t be more excited about, I know the working title is Banned because, of course, the NBA banning you as part of its so-called war on drugs. First I have to ask, why have you decided to write a book after all these years?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Well, after all these years I wanted to write my book so I can tell my story. Instead of letting someone else tell what they thought it was, I’m going to tell the truth.

Dave Zirin:  Very good. Did anything happen in your life that inspired you to try to tell your story at this point?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  No. I just think now is the time for me to tell my story because, for some reason, I’ve been drug free for over 30-something years, and every time they bring up my Michael Ray Richardson, they always mention the drug thing. That’s not who I am. It was just something that I had dealt with, but that’s not who I am.

Dave Zirin:  That must be incredibly frustrating.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Of course it is. When they sit there and they write, it’s okay if people write, but I want you to write the truth. Well, was I the first person banned? Yes. But I also was the first person that was reinstated.

Dave Zirin:  Exactly.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  When I was over in Italy my second year, I had a chance to come back and play for the Philadelphia 76ers when the coach was Gene Shue and the owner was Harold Katz. What happened was Johnny Dawkins had tore up his knee, and they had called me, and they had offered me a one-year contract for $800,000. But I told them that I wanted a two-year guarantee or I couldn’t leave. I think after looking at the whole big picture, I made the perfect choice, ’cause I stayed over there and played another 13 years, played until I was 46.

Dave Zirin:  So yeah, that’s amazing. So no regrets about not going back when you were reinstated?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  None whatsoever. I was able to fulfill my dream in another country. I played professional basketball for 21 years.

Dave Zirin:  No, it’s amazing. I was curious about your relationship with Commissioner David Stern because he did the banning, but he also did the reinstatement. What was that relationship like?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  He and I had an unbelievable relationship. I didn’t blame David for anything that had took place, because I did something wrong. I deserved to be punished, so he did what he had to do. But at the time that I got caught, everybody was doing it in the league. If I would’ve told on everybody that was doing it, I could have brought the league down, but I kept my mouth closed. I got caught, I deal with my responsibilities, okay?

So I left, I went overseas, and I stayed in contact with David. He and I had a great relationship. When I finished playing overseas, he had gave me a job working with the NBA office in Paris for a couple of years. So I did that for a couple of years, and then I came back to the States in 2003. Then he also helped me get a job working for the Denver Nuggets as a community ambassador. So I did that for a year. And then I decided that I wanted to coach, so I got into coaching in the minor leagues.

Dave Zirin:  You talk about playing in Italy, that sounds like a little bit of a dream job. What was it like for you to play in Italy?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  It was unbelievable, because playing in the NBA, you would play maybe three or four games in six nights, or in three or four different cities. Well, playing in Italy, if you’re not in the Euroleague, you only play one game a week. You play every Sunday. So my first year, I wasn’t in the Euroleague, so we played every Sunday. Then my second year we were in the Euroleague, so I played on Wednesdays and Sundays. So that way, I didn’t have a lot of wear and tear on my body.

Dave Zirin:  And that’s how you played so long.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Yes.

Dave Zirin:  It sounds like a much better quality of life than playing in the NBA.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Oh, my God. It’s like night and day. People don’t understand how the life is in Europe. It is so laid back. Because in America when you take a lunch break, it’s either 30 or 40 minutes. In Italy, it is a true siesta. You go to lunch at noon, and you don’t have to be back to work till 3:30 or 4:00, so you can go home, you can take a nap, you can do whatever.

Dave Zirin: Wow.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  So it’s a whole different lifestyle.

Dave Zirin:  Wow. I also understand that when you played in the USBL, you roomed with the legendary Nancy Lieberman.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Yes.

Dave Zirin:  What was that about?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Her and I was roommates. I remember that she wanted to play basketball, and at that time there was no girl leagues, so they gave her an opportunity to come and play up in the USBL. So she came to play on our team, and so all the guys saw her as a female, and they were going to try to be tough with her and stuff. So I took her under my wing, and I was like her protector. But even to this day, Nancy and I are really, really close friends.

Dave Zirin:  That’s fantastic. She’s a legend unto herself, so it’s great to hear when legends become friends.

Michael Ray, my mom is here in the studio, and I know moms can mean a lot. Could you speak a little bit about your mom and what she meant to you?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  There’s nobody like mom. No matter what you do, mom is going to be mom. She’s going to tell you what’s wrong from what’s right, but she’s never going to turn her back on you. She’s never going to treat you no different no matter what you are going through, she’s going to be there for you, 100%.

Dave Zirin:  That’s beautiful. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to add or say about your book, about your life, your career, and what it means to be Sugar, what it means to be Michael Ray Richardson?

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Right now, it’s great to be Sugar. I’ve been blessed. Basketball has took me to places where I probably never had the chance to see if I never played. It has given me a comfortable life. It has made me look at the whole world on you have to take the good with the bad, ’cause there’s a lot of bad, but also there’s a lot of good. I don’t think there’s one person in this world that can say that they have lived a perfect life.

Dave Zirin:  That’s true. I got to say, that message is so important these days, where sometimes people feel like there isn’t something better around the corner. For you to be able to have that message that the day does get brighter with the dawn, I think is so important.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  If you put yourself in [inaudible] like I did, I put myself in a situation that I normally shouldn’t have never put my situation in, but I was the only one that could have gotten myself out of it. To this day, I am so happy where I came from. I’m a firm believer that our scriptures has already been written, and this was how my scripture was written, and this is what I had to go through in my life to come back to be who I am today.

Dave Zirin:  Wow. Well, I cannot wait to read your book. I’m so honored that you came here on Edge of Sports TV. Thank you so much, sir.

Micheal Ray Richardson:  Thank you for having me.

Dave Zirin:  Now some choice words. Okay. Look, the NFL season is underway and a big question always haunts me on Sunday afternoon when I sprint like Usain Bolt to my favorite part of my couch: Why is football only really popular in the United States? In the rest of the world, football is, of course, soccer, and our football is, at most, an afterthought – And please, don’t argue with me by bringing up NFL games in London. I am convinced those stands are packed with study abroad students on their way to Amsterdam.

So why is this the case? Why do other countries reject our football as a point of pride, especially when our other cultural products like music and movies or other sports like basketball tend to spread around the globe like wildfire? Now, I’ve heard some explain this by saying, well, the USA is a violent country, so people love a violent game, and that’s true. But while that sounds smart, as Jules Winfield said in Pulp Fiction, “That shit ain’t the truth.” There’s violence across the world and yet that doesn’t make people football fans. So what is it about this country that makes football our addiction of choice? Why are TV ratings, even in our fractured culture, always on the rise when it comes to football?

To understand why, you have to look at everyone’s favorite subject in high school: history. So let’s take a trip in the wayback machine and explain how football got baked into the cake of this country’s psyche.

Football began to flourish here at the turn of the 20th century, not as a fun diversion for kids, but to aid a US foreign policy obsessed with dreams of a global empire. Those dreams existed side-by-side with the fear that the children of the wealthy, the ones supposed to lead this conquest, were too soft, too weak, too “unmanly” for the task of running the world.

Now, this is hard for us to envision today because football draws most of its players from poor and working-class backgrounds, and the majority of NFL players are Black. But football started as a sport for privileged white elites on Ivy League campuses as a way to toughen up this new generation to lead what was called the American Century. That’s why this new game of football was embraced, not only as a sport, but as a training ground for war openly.

Not surprisingly, the ultimate imperial war hawk, President Theodore Roosevelt, was one of the earliest and most prominent promoters of the sport. In an 1893 piece called “The Value of Athletic Training,” Roosevelt defended football, writing, “All of the masterful nations in history encouraged rugged sports.” He believed that athletic training in football could build a new Anglo-Saxon super-race ready to stand to stride the world. So football was born intertwined alongside ideas about white nationalism and imperial expansion.

These early games were so violent that dozens of young men died on the field of play. When newspapers started to report the shocking number of casualties and the grim reality that football had essentially become a death harvest, many prominent thinkers called for its elimination and even its abolition. The NCAA was actually formed initially to find a way to lower the body counts in the face of a torrent of criticism. In other words, my little rant here is not just hindsight, but people back then recoiled not just from the violence, but the ethos of the sport as well.

Charles Eliot, the president of Harvard, pushed for an abolition of football altogether, writing in 1915 that it was “A fight whose strategy and ethics are those of war where the weaker man is considered the legitimate prey of the stronger, all of which sets up the wrong kind of hero.”

But Teddy Roosevelt and other defenders of the sport were not having any of this Ivy League, powderpuff moralism. The one-time rough rider blasted Eliot and Harvard for wanting to “emasculate football.” Roosevelt’s belief that football was a necessary antidote to male effeminacy was so intense that he once wrote that he would disinherit his own sons if they didn’t play, and would “rather see one of them die than have them grow up as weaklings.”

So why is football so baked into the cake of the United States? Here’s the answer: its imperial ambitions and a ruling class fear of losing a masculine edge in a society where rich kids tend to grow up as soft as a duck feather pillow.

Now, fast-forward to 2023, and it’s amazing how little has changed. The GOP in particular has become the party of white male panic. Their platform is fear-based, fear of decline-ism, fear of the other, and fear that we won’t be able to keep what has already been conquered. This is not to say that only right-wingers are football fans; far from it. But only in a country such as this one, only in the United States of anxiety, do people clutch this sport so firmly. And maybe we clutch it because we feel it all just slipping away.

Now, it’s so great to have her on the program. I’ve been trying for some time. From the University of Cincinnati, Professor Letisha Brown.

Professor Brown, thank you so much for joining us here on Edge of Sports.

Letisha Brown:  Thank you so much for having me.

Dave Zirin:  I got to ask, there’s so many areas of sports that can draw people to study. What drew you to the politics of being a Black gymnast in the United States?

Letisha Brown:  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved gymnastics. As I’ve gotten more into my career as a Black feminist sports scholar, I noticed that there is this room for a deep discussion on Black gymnasts, especially considering how much more prominent they’re becoming in society, the major issues that they tend to face in terms of representation in the sports media.

I think that it’s an important area to study. When you think about white spaces in particular, and gymnastics as being one of those sports that has consistently been a white space. It took until 1992 for there to be Black gymnasts at the Olympics on Team USA. We had Dominique Dawes and Betty Okino. Then, after Dominique Dawes made her triumph at third Olympics, we didn’t see anybody until Gabby Douglas 12 years later.

Dave Zirin:  I have to shout out Dominique Dawes, who’s from this area and whose cousin runs the barbershop where I get my hair cut and is a big fan of the show. So I can’t just pretend that Dominique Dawes isn’t part of my life, because there are big pictures of her in the barbershop every time I go in –

Letisha Brown:  Love it.

Dave Zirin:  …So we pay our tribute to the GOAT. Absolutely.

Are there more reasons now why there are more Black women and women of color generally in the gymnastics pipeline compared to decades past?

Letisha Brown:  I think that visibility really has a lot to do with it. We always talk about how representation matters, but it really, really does. Growing up in the ’90s and early 2000s, there was just Dominique Dawes and Betty Okino. Even now with the growth of not just elite gymnastics at the national level, but also the collegiate level, we’re seeing many more Black and Brown faces. We have now two HBCUs that have a women’s gymnastics team, which I never thought would happen. Fisk was first and now Talladega College in Alabama is the second. I think things like that are important. It gives opportunity and opens doors and shows that there is room for us in these once-upon-a-time white spaces.

Dave Zirin:  To me, one of the great, most accomplished, and tragically most underrated athletes of the last quarter-century is Gabby Douglas, the great Olympic champion. There has been so much bizarrely negative media coverage around her for reasons that, to me, seem frankly incomprehensible beyond just saying, well, racism, United States, there you go. But I was hoping you could help us decode it a little further. Help us understand why Gabby Douglas isn’t lauded as the sports hero that she should be.

Letisha Brown:  This is something that I’ve really thought about, because Dominique Dawes competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and that was her third Olympic Games. And it would take us another 12 years before we saw another Black woman reach that level, and that was Gabby Douglas. I was blown away by her composure, by her athleticism, and the fact that she was a teenager when she was at the Olympics, and she received so much backlash.

I remember in 2012 all of the conversations about her hair that became center stage. And the politics of Black hair in the US are completely complicated. We’re creating legislation like the Crown Act in order to outlaw hair discrimination against natural Black hairstyles, so we know that there’s something there.

People always say things to me like, well, it’s just hair. It’s like, maybe for you, because there isn’t legislation that dictates what white women can do with their hair, but there is when it comes to Black women and Black girls. I think we live in a society in which Black girls are becoming more visible, and that visibility leads to higher punishments if we’re thinking about pushing out. I wondered if the backlash was this reaction to, once again, having a Black woman in a space that wasn’t where she was expected, and I felt for her.

In my book that I’m working on, I have a chapter on Black hair in which I talk about Gabby Douglas, and I love the work of Dr. Akilah Carter-Francique who does representing Gabby work. I do think that it’s more than just racism, but that brings us to this intersection of racism, especially anti-Black racism and misogyny, like misogynoir that Moya Bailey talks about. I think that that’s exactly what Gabby Douglas has been experiencing. Because she couldn’t win.

Dave Zirin:  Right.

Letisha Brown:  There was nothing that she could do to win. She was winning in terms of gold, but in terms of her representation. In 2012, it was a problem with her hair and that it wasn’t composed in a way that people thought was appropriate. But I feel that the people who had the biggest comments had never been gymnasts. Because as a former Black gymnast, her hair was fantastic for what it did. I also think that there’s a lot of discussion and deep-seated anger about Black women and embracing their hair and their beauty and their athleticism.

But then when she competed again in Rio alongside Simone Biles, she didn’t seem happy enough for people. She didn’t put her hand over her heart in a way that was seen as responding appropriately to our American society. And yet, other people had similar reactions and similar presentations, and they weren’t nearly as dogged as she was. They weren’t nearly as hated within the media as she was. I find it bizarre, quite honestly, at a time in which we should have been celebrating her accomplishments, like winning the all-around medal, becoming the first in 12 years, and sparking this interest so that there could be more to follow her like Simone Biles I think is so important, and it’s missing from the conversation.

Dave Zirin:  Do you think Gabby Douglas knows that there are people like yourself who are actually shaping the way a new generation is going to understand her in a way that’s far more holistic and far more just than the way the rabid sports media took on who she was?

Letisha Brown:  I hope so, and I will shout out Gabby Douglas any chance that I get. I was blown away with each and every of her performances. The fact that she’s trying to make a reappearance in the ’24 games is astounding. Because if she does this, she would be the second to get three, along with Simone Biles as well. If they both made the team, we would then have three American gymnasts that competed in three Olympic Games, and they would all three be Black women.

Dave Zirin:  Wow. Now let’s talk about the great Simone Biles.

Letisha Brown:  Yes.

Dave Zirin:  I put on social media a couple of years ago that Simone Biles was, along with Jim Thorpe, like the greatest athlete ever produced in the United States. I was surprised at how little pushback I got, partly because it’s so unimpeachable, her greatness. What are you going to say about somebody who can do things that only she can do? That’s like a Wilt Chamberlain type of thing. But this last Olympics, it was like a switch flipped, because she dared care about not just her mental health, but her physical safety, and the response was horrific. It was like all the equity that she had earned through all of this greatness didn’t mean a damn thing. What does that tell us?

Letisha Brown:  I think it has a lot to do with what the great Dr. Harry Edwards [once] said, was that the Black athlete is a tool to be used, essentially, and if we’re not operating in that function, then we’re no longer useful, and we’re no longer appreciated. Of course, there’s also this mentality that Black women are supposed to be superheroes and superwomen and not have these types of vulnerabilities that that also, especially in the mental health piece, was part of the reason that I knew as soon as I got word that she was going to be sitting out, that the backlash was going to be drastic, swift, and disgusting.

We saw it happen with Gabby Douglas, I wasn’t surprised that it was happening with Simone Biles. I wrote a couple of op-eds about it with First and Pen because I just… It broke my heart that here is this young woman who was trying to model not only what it means to be an athlete and a Black athlete, but a woman who cares about her health. And because she didn’t want to jeopardize that, people are mad. You’re costing us the Gold. You’re going to cost us this, you’re going to cost us that. But what about the cost of her life? Where’s the value in her life? She has four moves named after her. No one else does.

Dave Zirin:  That’s amazing.

Letisha Brown:  She has eight national titles. You cannot touch her. She is amazing.

Dave Zirin:  Wow. I think everybody watching this right now understands why I’ve wanted to have you on for so many weeks. But before you go, Professor Brown, can you tell us what you’re working on right now, what projects you have in the hopper, and what we should be looking out for?

Letisha Brown:  Yeah. So definitely be on the lookout for my book, Say Her Name: Centering Black Feminism and Black Women in Sports with Rutgers University Press. Hopefully, it will be out in 2024 or early ’25. I’m very excited about that project. There are a lot of different pieces that are going on in there.

I’m also working specifically on a paper that’s under review right now that I worked on with a couple of my graduate students on Black girl magic and sports in white spaces. So we talk a lot about gymnasts. We talk specifically about Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles. We also talk about the vision that Serena Williams and Venus Williams played in changing the literally all-white space of tennis. The outfits were white, the people were white, the shoes were white. It’s not so much like that anymore because you got a little bit of that Black girl magic.

Like Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas have been beacons, I think, to this up-and-coming generation of new Black gymnasts the same way that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have ushered in this cadre of new Black tennis players, I just think that there are so many overlaps, and they all deserve their due.

Dave Zirin:  Absolutely. Shout out to Coco Gauff who has an open invitation to come on the show whenever she would like. By the way, that goes for you too. When Say Her Name is out, I really hope you come back. I’d love to talk to you about the book, and I will read that thing cover to cover.

Letisha Brown:  Thank you. I definitely would be happy to.

Dave Zirin:  Awesome. Thank you so much, Dr. Brown. How can people keep up with your work? Any social media tags you can give us?

Letisha Brown:  Yeah. I’m on Twitter @letisha122, Instagram, @letisha002. I’m also on the newer ones, but I’m not really sure what’s happening in those places. So you can find me on Threads. You can find my public scholarship on the sports page First and Pen. I do a lot of public work there. And look out for me in upcoming issues of the Sociology of Sport Journal as well.

Dave Zirin:  Ohio is lucky to have you. That’s all I’m going to say.

Letisha Brown:  Thank you.

Dave Zirin:  Dr. Brown, thank you so much for joining us on Edge of Sports.

Letisha Brown:  Thank you.

Dave Zirin:  Well, that’s all the time we have for this week’s show. Thank you so much to Sugar, Michael Ray Richardson, thank you to Professor Letisha Brown, and thank you to everyone here at The Real News Network for making this show possible. You too can support Edge of Sports TV by going to the site, watching us on YouTube, click and like, leaving comments, all the things that feed the algorithm and allow this show to actually be seen. So if you like Edge of Sports TV, become a promoter of Edge of Sports TV, because that’s how we do. For everybody out there listening, please stay frosty. We are out of here, peace.

Maximillian Alvarez:  Thank you so much for watching The Real News Network where we lift up the voices, stories, and struggles that you care about most. And we need your help to keep doing this work. So please tap your screen now, subscribe, and donate to The Real News Network. Solidarity forever.

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Dave Zirin is the sports editor of the Nation Magazine. He is the author of 11 books on the politics of sports, including most recently, The Kaepernick Effect Taking A Knee, Saving the World. He’s appeared on ESPN, NBC News, CNN, Democracy Now, and numerous other outlets. Follow him at @EdgeofSports.